• -


According to the exit polls, the results are as follows:

  • PiS: 43.6%
  • KO: 27.4%
  • Lewica: 11.9%
  • PSL: 9.6%
  • Konfederacja: 6.4%

If these numbers hold, the Sejm will be divided as follows:

  • PiS – 239
  • KO – 130
  • Lewica – 43
  • PSL – 34
  • Konfederacja – 13

There is a 2 percent margin of error in the exit poll, so things could still change. The window of hope is tiny, though. Even if PiS were to fall below 231, the presence of Konfederacja gives them an easy coalition partner.

Even though this is a very narrow victory, Kaczyński will seize the opportunity to push forward his vision without regard to the opposition. In the months ahead, we can expect:

  • The continued purging of the judiciary.
  • The loss of local government authority, replaced by officials appointed by PiS.
  • The subordination of the media to a so-called “media ethics board,” which will be used to harrass and close down opposition TV, radio, and print journalism.
  • A campaign to purge or discipline teachers, who up until now had been largely opposed to PiS’s plans.
  • New restrictions on public assembly, and a few narrowly targeted arrests to ensure that protest is understood to carry risks. Protests will continue, but they will be small and ineffectual.
  • Increased marginalization of Poland within the EU. Poland can expect a reduction in payments from EU transfer programs, and probably administrative sanctions as the aforementioned measures are taken. Support for EU membership will likely decline, as PiS supporters come to see Brussels as an enemy.
  • Economic troubles as sanctions combine with the inevitable recession (all signs point to a downturn soon). This is probably the only remaining threat to Kaczyński’s power.
  • Large scale emigration of Poland’s educated professionals, which will weaken the economy but facilitate the progress of the PiS revolution.

Poland has enjoyed almost three decades of unprecedented economic growth, cultural openness, and strong civil liberties. It is hard to see how any of that can be sustained after today.

About Author

Brian Porter-Szucs

Brian Porter-Szucs is a Thurnau Professor of History at the University of Michigan, where he specializes in the history of Poland, Catholicism, and modern economic thought.